The transition from January to February has always been one of my favorite times of the year. Enough time has passed since the holidays that everyone is back to their routines, but most people are still trying to better themselves for the rest of the year. Whether it's getting in shape for beach season, or finally quitting that job you hate, the start of the year is full of dreams and aspirations and people working hard to achieve their goals.
This year I decided to share some of the goal-setting tactics I’ve used in my professional life, and mix them with personal and relational goals to create an all encompassing 2017 Goal Setting Guide.
Step One - Recap
In order to set worthy goals, look back over the past 12 months and come up with as many highlights and low points as possible and write them down. Once you have completed this for each month, look back over your list and try to find some patterns.
When I was recapping my year I realized that the majority of my highlights involved my dogs, spontaneous adventures, and creating new friendships. While the majority of my low points involved laziness, expectations, and pursuing excess. This gave me a baseline to check my 2017 goals against and a way to prioritize them to maximize fulfillment.
Step Two - Organize
I like to separate long-term goals into three separate categories: Personal (a goal that doesn't require help from anyone and you can complete 100% on your own), relational (a goal that relies on another person to accomplish), and professional (a goal that involves your job). This helps you prioritize and makes creating a plan to achieve each specific goal a bit easier down the line. It also sets you up to win in the long run because you're never relying on a specific thing or person to accomplish everything.
Once you have at least three goals for each category check them against the Recap List, the more highlights a goal involves the higher it moves on the list. If any of your goals include a Low Point from the Recap List remove that goal immediately. There is no point in pursuing something you know brings you down. After this is done you should have a list of goals that make you excited and willing to fight for.
Step Three - Strategize
Now that we have a list of goals it's time to come up with a timetable and a plan on how to achieve each of them one step at a time. Some goals are pretty straight forward such as paying off my car by the end of the year. You simply take what you owe and divide it by your time frame and you have your first step. If that number is larger than your budget supports what are you willing to sacrifice to achieve this goal? Do you get rid of cable, or possibly take an extra shift every week?
Other goals can be much more complex, and laying out a plan is much more in depth. The key things to keep in mind when strategizing a plan is to include small benchmarks along the way and celebrate with each one you achieve. A good example for this would be any type of weight loss goal. If you want to lose 30 lbs by the end of the year, start with a goal of losing 5 lbs by the end of the month, or going to the gym three times a week. Once that first step is accomplished, Celebrate then move on to step two which should be a bit more advanced. Small tangible steps are the best way to achieve a goal which seems impossible.
Need help organizing your goals? Click the link below for the template thatI used.